Updated 4/2/20 2:14pm As of Friday, 4/3, all customers must wear face masks or scarves fully covering nose & mouth.
We put this off as long as we could, but it's clear that we cannot safely continue to operate in a mask-free environment. This virus is too tenacious and there's too much chance any of us could come into contact with someone who has the virus, is spreading the virus, but doesn't realize it because they have no symptoms. We are not requiring you wear an actual mask; if you can tie a scarf or bandanna in such a way that it entirely covers your mouth and nose, you're good.
Updated 3/31/20 3:37pm One repair in store at a time. If bringing a bike to us for repair, please wait outside with it until we call you in.We have had situations where we've had multiple people waiting inside the store to have their bike repaired. That doesn't work for "social distancing." So from now until... we're guessing middle of May, you will be waiting outside until we have our repair stand available to assess the next customer. Which sucks because it could be raining, it could be cold, and we don't want our customers out in the rain & cold! But we also want to be part of the solution, not the problem, in controlling the spread of Covid-19. It's our hope that what we do helps to raise awareness for everyone. Because, let's face it, some of us go into "automatic" mode and act as we always have, because that's how we were brought up. The good news/bad news is that our idea of requiring customers to wear masks has to be put on hold for a bit because you just can't find them anywhere. And thank you to those who have offered assistance on where to find hand sanitizer! We have enough to last us until our next supply arrives. Where did we find it? Here- https://artnaturals.com/bath-body/hands/. Do not buy it on Amazon!!! You will pay a higher price plus a huge amount for freight (does not qualify for Prime). Nor will you get it any sooner. Buy direct from the source. Looks like they shop from California. There are apparently also local breweries that have converted some of their output to producing alcohol for hand sanitizer. --Mike--
From 3/28 4:37pm: We're planning to open Monday morning at 11am, but there will be some changes. We may be blocking off the entry and screening customers, taking bikes for repair into the shop while the customer waits at the door for the diagnosis. We may be placing a specific limit on the number of customers in each part of the store. We may end up going to an appointment-only scenario for some transactions. In a nutshell, my trips to a few grocery stores, a hardware store and a coffee shop on Sunday showed me that social distancing isn't working in some places and two places in particular, grocery and liquor stores, are almost designed to help spread the virus. Little attention is paid anywhere to cleaning credit card terminals prior to use; in one place, many transactions took place and I never saw the terminal wiped down. It is entirely possible we may soon be requiring all customers to be wearing a mask (one they provide) before allowed entry into the store. And no, I don't know where to get them; we can't find them for our own staff. This is not the way any of us want to do business!!! One of the biggest issues I've seen is that we all go into an automatic mode in a familiar situation and forget about the importance of social distancing etc. But this thing is coming for us, and we have to be as protective as we can of both our staff and customers. --Mike Jacoubowsky, Partner, Chain Reaction Bicycles
Updated 3/28/20 4:05pm: We're 10 days into this, learning more each day, struggling to find the sanitizing supplies required because if we run out of Isopropyl Alcohol or hand sanitizer, we're closed. We can improvise some things, like spraying alcohol on paper towels to wipe credit card machines instead of the individual wipes, but hand sanitizer and Isopropyl Alcohol are indispensable. We're doing triage on a ton of kids bikes, because getting out for a family bike ride seems to keep people sane. Who knew? Makes us feel good. And like everyone else, we're watching the news and wondering where we are on "the curve." And how long before this peaks, and when it starts going down and people feel safer.
Prior update from 3/23: We've survived almost a week of shelter-at-home so far. We've learned that people don't get the 6 foot social distance thing in a retail environment so we're blue-taping off-limits areas, especially in the repair diagnosis area. We've learned that we can't allow people to inflate their tires using our air pumps inside the store; they can still borrow an air pump but it has to be done outside (a couple times Saturday we had multiple people waiting for their turn at the pump, inside the store). We're working on workflow to minimize risk by doing something as simple as sanitizing credit card machines immediately PRIOR to each use, not after. Because you never know for sure if it was done previously.
We've also realized the inconvenient truth. That most every small local business that serves its local community is facing a really difficult choice. Close and lose money, or stay open and potentially lose even more money, as the reduced (or entirely missing) sales during the shelter-at-home don't meet staff wages, much less rent. Most of us will survive this initial 3 week, but if (if?) it's extended another 3 weeks? Or more? The things that make life convenient and even fun, those things that make local local, are all at risk. Small businesses don't get to suffer a $248 billion loss and somehow magically stay in business. We're not "too big to fail."
If you see legislation in the news that is aimed at helping small, local businesses survive, please think about us and support it. In return, we'll support the communities that we've worked with for so many years now, feeling good about our decisions to stay locally-focused because... because that's what we believe in. We've invested in buildings and employees and projects where you live. If you don't live near us, let's say you live in Paducah Kentucky, there's a local shop that is better geared to taking care of you than anyone on-line can. Martha & Hutch are as passionate about their community as we are about ours. As are thousands of local bike shops across the country.
The rest of our previous piece here is pretty much old news by now. Bike shops are officially considered essential for their service to the bicycle as transportation, much of that due to the efforts of many local shops who have lobbied for better cycling infrastructure. Our hours are reduced; 11am-6pm weekdays, because there is no longer an "after work" crowd coming in. Saturdays still 10am-6pm and closed Sundays. Repair work is focusing on what can be done pretty quickly to keep you on the road. Staffing is reduced because we're in a "stay home if feeling not great" mode, knowing that a "cold" is still a thing but you can't be too careful. But we are here to keep you going. It's a relationship that's worked for 40 years. We're doing what we can for many more.
Thank you, Mike & Steve Jacoubowsky, Partners, Chain Reaction Bicycles
What's New? Keeping you (and us) healthy!
You can't escape the news. COVID-19 (aka "Novel Corona Virus") is real. 03/13/20- (Older news; we're putting a current FAQ sort of thing at the top of this page) The best way to stay healthy is to be healthy. Everything we know says you'll do better against almost any disease if you're taking good care of yourself. Riding a bike can't stop you from getting COVID-19, but it might help you get over it easier and faster. Plus, cycling is one of the few "group" activities that isn't likely to increase exposure to the virus. Let's face it; if you're riding closer than 3 feet to another cyclist, you're too close anyway!
At Chain Reaction, we're doing our part to create a safe shopping environment. We're sanitizing touch points, minimizing physical contact (if looking for a touchy-feely experience, that's not us right now!) and keeping on top of retail "best practices" for your health and safety. And ours! Part of that means keeping our doors open even when cold outside, so on a colder day, you might want to wear a light jacket. But, you don't have to touch a door handle.
COVID-19 is affecting our repair backlog. Unfortunately, COVID-19 is affecting normal day-to-day operations in our mechanic area. We have not had an instance of the virus among our staff, but if someone's got a "bad cold" they don't get to "tough it out." They stay home. Combine that with our very mild "winter" and we have a substantial backlog of repairs. If you purchased your bike from us, remember that you can bring it in anytime, without calling ahead, for minor on-the-spot adjustments of brakes, gears and wheels (at no charge; this is included with any bike purchased from us).
It's E-Bike time at Chain Reaction! E-Bikes are the latest thing; find out why! Commute to the office without needing a shower, bring home the groceries (even if you live on top of a hill!) or keep up with your obsessive-cyclist partner.